Roadways That Charge While You Drive

Range anxiety, the fear that the vehicle’s charge will not take you as far as you need to go, is the most common reason people choose not to buy an electric vehicle (EV). Despite advancements in battery technology over the last 10 years, a lack of charging stations still contributes to these worries. But what if there was a way to charge your EV on the same roadway you are driving on? It sounds futuristic, but may be honestly closer than you think.

The Problem with EV Range

Nissan Leaf

Unsure whether you have enough battery power to get to your destination is never a great feeling. Neither is waiting for your EV to charge in the morning because you forgot to plug it in the night before. The EVs available in 2021 have incredible technology that allows them to easily travel over 300 km on one charge—in the right conditions, of course.

But that doesn’t mean we’ve banished range anxiety forever.

Compared to an internal combustion engine vehicle, though, that range is a little smaller than what you would get from a tank of gas. That’s not even mentioning the couple of hours it takes to charge an EV even on a fast charger. How can we make EVs more practical for long-distance travel?

By using the roads themselves as chargers.

How Do the Roadways Charge?

Building a roadway that will charge EVs on it while they drive could help secure the future of EVs as the new mainstream vehicle. Charging roadways require the vehicle to have some sort of “pickup” in order to collect the energy from the roadway. The vehicle will also have to be equipped with an on-board charger.

So, some design modifications will need to be made. Israel announced in 2020 it was going to build a strip of electrified road in Tel Aviv. ElectReon, the company behind the project, has expanded since to Sweden, Germany, and Italy.

But not all roads will need to be rebuilt, only some of them: After your car recharges on an electrified roadway, you can drive on normal roads. It’s the best of both worlds. The power station is equipped with a safety system that controls and shuts off the road if there is a malfunction. This means no one will get electrocuted. Every segment of the road is safe to walk on. The only unsafe part is between the vehicle and the roadway around the pickups.

Will It Work For More Than Just Cars?

This technology can apply to different vehicles. ElectReon, for example, is testing an electric bus and transport truck on the Swedish island of Gotland. Possibilities for the future? Imagine a completely green public transit system!

Are Electrified Roads the Future?

Electrified roads may be the way of the future, but the costs are currently high. Moreover, hydrogen fuel cell batteries have yet to reach their full potential. But we see a lot of major car brands innovating to create the best EV available on the market, so the jury may still be on out on this one.